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The commanding general of Fort Bliss has formally retracted comments he made in January that soldiers who commit suicide are selfish, CNN reported.
According to CNN, Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard wrote on his blog:
"I have now come to the conclusion that suicide is an absolutely selfish act. Soldiers who commit suicide leave their families, their buddies and their units to literally clean up their mess. There is nothing noble about suicide. ... I am personally fed up with Soldiers who are choosing to take their own lives so that others can clean up their mess. Be an adult, act like an adult, and deal with your real-life problems like the rest of us."
The posts have since been removed from the Fort Bliss website.
A senior military official who declined to be named told CNN Pittard was "frustrated" when he posted the comments after attending the funeral of one soldier who killed himself on Christmas day and then receiving news of another apparent suicide as he was leaving the service.
His retraction reads in part: "In my commentary published January 19, 2012, I stated suicide was a selfish act. Thanks to many of you and your feedback, I have learned that this was a hurtful statement. I also realize that my statement was not in line with the Army's guidance regarding sensitivity to suicide. With my deepest sincerity and respect towards those whom I have offended, I retract that statement."
The same day as Pittard's post, the Army presented a study showing suicides among active-duty troops had ticked up slightly to a new high in 2011. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the former Army vice chief of staff, said shortly before his retirement that trying to reduce the number of suicides in the Army has been “the most difficult challenge in my 40 years in the military.”